Tire Size(s)

10-03-2010, 09:31 PM
My mom has smaller tires in the BACK of her car, and larger tires IN FRONT of her 2004 Chevy Cavalier front wheel drive...(I know--long story)

The front 2 tires match and they are brand new Goodyear P195/70R14, and the back 2 tires match and they are Cooper 185/65R14 with about 5000-6000 miles on them.

My questions are:

1. Are these tires safe to drive with larger tires in front and smaller tires in back of a front wheel drive vehicle? **We want to give to a teenage driver....**

2. Other than looking stupid can this harm/affect anything on the car?

We cant afford to replace tires right now, so PLEASE don't just say "all tires should match" I know...just cant afford it and my teenager really needs the car for work--

Please help and Thanks so much!

10-04-2010, 05:11 AM
You've posted this question on a couple of web sites, so I hope you don't mind if I post my reply as well, so others can read it.

The general rule is to put the best tires on the rear. This is to prevent the rear end from losing traction first.

Unfortunately, the P185/65R14's are smaller by 2 sizes than what came originally - and that's an unsafe practice. So putting those tires on the front would be better for the handling, but worse for the loading (potential tire failure).

In other words, there isn't a good answer unless you replace those small tires with the proper size - and I'd recommend you do that ASAP.

06-09-2011, 12:21 AM
On the last, highest-performance Pontiac Grand Prix, engineers found better handling on that front-drive vehicle with wider tires on 8" rims in front. The rears were narrower, mounted on 7" rims. So you might be okay in normal (not crazy fast) driving.

I buy new tires in pairs for my RWD Suburban, and always put them on the rear axle for two reasons:

1. The solid rear axle has no alignment adjustments to get knocked out against a curb or in a pothole, like the independent front, grinding off thousands of miles of tread in as little as a week or two. By putting them on the rear for the first 30,000 miles or so, I'm guaranteed at least half the tread life. Then they are moved up front for the second half of their life.

2. Something like 70% of flats happen to rear-mounted tires. Nails and other sharp objects lay flat and harmless on the road until the front tire runs over them. They are flipped up into the air, sometimes coming down vertical just in time for the rear tire to get punctured by the upstanding sharp point. I like to put the the thinner treads on the front and the thicker ones on the back, the better to ward off this kind of damage.

Add your comment to this topic!